Property sales levy could raise £62bn for housing & infrastructure

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A levy on the sale of property, mirrored on a scheme currently in place in New York, US, could raise as much as £62bn in long-term bonds in England, according to the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) 

The proposed levy would charge a 1% tax on the sale or transfer of property worth £350,000 or less and 1.425% if worth more. ACE estimates that this could raise £2.16bn if applied in England alone. Transferred to local authorities, this could be worth £62bn in long-term bonds – double the current budget of the Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and HS2 projects combined.

The proposal forms part of the recommendations of ACE’s new major research report, Unlocking Housing: Invigorating local communities through placemaking, which argues that only a radical change in approach will ensure we’re able to tackle the housing crisis.

Commenting on the proposal for a property sales levy, ACE chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE said: “Our proposals are mirrored on a proven model and would enable local authorities around the country to share in the gains of the property market and receive the vital funds they need to kick-start a housing revolution and invest in its supporting infrastructure, so all can benefit.

“In our view, local authorities are best placed to tackle the housing crisis and a property sales levy would ensure they have the tools at their disposal to do so.  For too long we have skirted around the issue – we need to find new ways to fund the homes the country desperately needs.”

The Unlocking Housing report also suggests:

  • Putting placemaking principles at the heart of local authority planning
  • Ensuring meaningful engagement with local communities on development proposals and their impacts
  • That new home design should reflect the desired ‘look and feel’ of a community
  • Promoting local authority owned development companies to ‘lead by example’.

Nelson Ogunshakin added: “Of course, finding more money is a key factor in solving the housing crisis, but we also believe that it needs to be spent in the right way. Our recommendations to implement placemaking principles into development, for meaningful engagement with local communities, and for investment in supporting health, education and transport infrastructure, would ensure a holistic approach to tackling what is surely the biggest issue facing our society today.”

To help take these proposals to the next stage, ACE is supporting the establishment of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Building Communities. The group will promote ideas around placemaking to the heart of politics and encourage a public debate on the human dimension of infrastructure investment and building the homes the country needs. MPs and Lords who have already expressed an interest in the group’s establishment include: Bob Blackman MP, Sir Graham Brady MP, Baroness Brown DBE, Baroness Chalker, Stephen Hammond MP, Mark Prisk MP, Lord Shipley OBE, and Matt Western MP.

Unlocking Housing was created with the input of the members of ACE’s property group. Group members include: AECOMArcadisBWB ConsultingClancy ConsultingHoare LeaHurley Palmer FlattWatermanWSP and WYG.

You can download the Unlocking Housing report here.

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